By David Ngobua
A former President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, and current Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) president, Habu Ahmed Gumel, has received the ‘Order of the Rising Sun’, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon award bestowed on him by the government of Japan.
It would be recalled that the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria had issued a statement to announce that the NOC president was among distinguished world personalities to be honoured with the most prestigious Foreign Recipients of the 2022 Spring Imperial Decorations.
The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Matsunanga Kazuyoshi, who decorated Gumel yesterday at his residence in Abuja said the award which is one of the highest order awarded in the name of His Majesty, the Emperor of Japan, is in recognition of Gumel’s enormous contributions to strengthening bilateral relations between Japan and Nigeria through sports.
“Engineer Gumel has established great achievements in the world of sports. The selection of Tokyo as the host city for the 2020 Olympics Games was made possible thanks to the tremendous support of Gumel.
“While serving as Olympics Committee coordinator, he visited Japan so many times and worked to ensure the success of the Tokyo 2022 Olympics,” Kazuyoshi reiterated
“In short, Gumel has worked for many years to strengthen bilateral relations between our two countries through sports. Thank you very much,” he said.
In his acceptance speech, the NOC president, who called for a minute of silence in honour of the recently assassinated ex-Japan Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said he was honoured to receive one of the highest awards in the world.
He also commended the city of Tokyo, the government and people of Japan who accepted to host the 2020 Olympics Games despite the threat of the deadly COVID-19.
Gumel promised to continue to work assiduously to sustain the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Japan in sports and socio-economic activities.
He also lauded the government and people of Nigeria, especially sports stakeholders for providing him with the platform to positively impact the world in the area of sports.
On his part, the Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, eulogised Gumel whom he described as a reliable and dependable partner in sports development.
“I congratulate Engineer Gumel on this well deserved award. He is a great resource person. He is full of sincerity and wisdom such that even the IOC president, Thomas Bach, relies extensively on him for solutions to problems,” said Dare.